I'm pleased to announce that Gates Imbeau - GMGates - is the new assistant manager for all of Dobber Sports. Very thankful to have him on board, he's already been a savior - the organization king! Congrats and big thanks to Gates. 

 

Good news for owners of Caps players - Dale Hunter has indeed stepped down as coach. No matter how tightly the next coach pulls in the reins, I don't think it could match what Hunter did. Not arguing with the success at all. Just sayin...

 

Todd Richards is the new coach of the Blue Jackets - the team removed the interim tag from his title and signed him to a two-year deal.

 

Well, there you have it. The end of Nikita Filatov's NHL career. Thanks to our friend Alessandro Seren Rosso, the link to the Filatov announcement in which he has signed to play with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the upcoming season.

 

The prevalent opinion on the Conn Smythe race seems to be – Dustin Brown or Mike Smith. And if that wasn’t your opinion before, it’s probably your opinion after last night’s game. Brown had this life-or-death desire to win, a sense of urgency as if it were Game 7. It goes deeper than the two points and seven shots on goal. Or his six hits. Well, actually, that paints the picture about right.

 

I thought this would be a Mike Smith versus Jonathan Quick thing, and I thought it would be the sizzling, white-hot Quick beating the simmering, white-hot Smith by a nose. But Smith outplayed Quick, despite the loss. He had to, since the first and most of the third periods were all Los Angeles. Smith stopped 44 of 47 shots. Quick let in a shot that was taken from the parking lot. (Clip below)

 

With the kind of all-around player that he is, and especially with how well he is playing in the postseason in a shutdown role, Jarret Stoll is in for a big payday this summer. He’s a UFA, and I think a lot of GM’s covet the traits that he has. And naturally, a big contract would mean a bigger role, which should lead to more points. I don’t believe the Kings will keep him, given the money they have tied up and the prospects on the way. Though a Cup win would change things.

 

Slava Voynov had the game of his life, firing six shots on goal and picking up an assist. Next season I think he gets in the 40-point range, as long as he isn’t struck by the jinx. We’ve only seen it in spurts so far, but the coach is gaining trust in this guy with every game.

 

Jeff Carter continues to struggle, managing just four points so far in the postseason. I’m often asked if I think he’ll bounce back next year, and I believe he will. But much depends on his health. The key to a rebound is – a summer to recover, to fully heal, and play at the top of his potential. But if he can’t shake the injury bug, which more often than not has something to do with his foot, than I don’t see much out of him at all. I have no interest in making an offer for him, but if an owner were to come to me with one and the price is right, I’d be happy to roll the dice.

 

Anze Kopitar has seven points in his last four contests.

 

Adrian Aucoin is still on the shelf with an “undisclosed injury”.

 

I saw a headline “Good defense and goaltending does not mean boring hockey”. I completely agree. Hockey is great entertainment, nothing comes close. However, those of us 37 and older will remember the offense of the 80s and smile. Remember the 5-4 games between the Oilers and the Flames in the 80s, and tell me that wasn’t slightly more enjoyable than say a 1-0 Kings win over the Blues from this era. I don’t believe anyone who bemoans low-scoring hockey finds it as bad as it comes across in their words. They would just like to see an extra goal or two each game, and have an underlying fear that perhaps in the seasons ahead the scoring will go down even further.

 

It’s not going back to the “boring days” of before the lockout. The clutching and grabbing isn’t nearly as bad. But now it’s all about clogging the front of the net and block shots. It’s about moving all five guys in a nice formation towards the puck carrier and almost completely preventing a safe pass to a teammate. Coaching continues to improve. I’m fine with the coaching styles of today. But I don’t see why we can’t make the power-play rule the way it was 80 years ago – serve the full two minutes. Scoring goes up, but the games that we are watching do not change. It’s not a new rule, or a ‘drastic change’. It’s bringing back the old rule. But the NHL will do something – they’ve been on record as saying that they monitor the offense and want to keep the goals-for within a certain range. Go above that range and they introduce rules that restrict. Go below that range and they introduce rules that loosen things up.

 

To check out how you’re doing in the standings of my playoff pool, click “playoff pool” up top. Thanks again to our sponsors The Fan Zoo and Cool Hockey – prizes for the pool include a framed and signed Alex Burrows pic from TFZ, as well as a custom jersey from CH.

 

Former NHLer Patrick Thoresen had a six-point game for Norway at the World Championship Sunday. NHL GMs have been lukewarm about bring him back, but he does have interest in returning to the NHL. But in 2010, when he made a bit of an effort to get a contract, he wasn’t successful. So I don’t he would be this time (plus I’m not sure of his contract situation in the KHL either). But if you see his name come up beside the words “signs a contract”, then pay attention for sure.

 

Did anyone else find that the Capitals, in the third period Saturday, were playing like the Keystone Cops? What a joke. I’ve never seen so many horrible gaffes in such an important game. That power play was disgusting. The shorthanded goal should have counted, but it didn’t so they got a second chance – and they still whiffed. Ovechkin coasted the entire game, other than maybe five shifts. Disappointed. Wanted to see better hockey on Saturday, especially with the idiots at NBC making me wait three days for that game.

 

Ilya Bryzgalov will bounce back next season for one key reason – Nicklas Grossmann. Bryz’s numbers improved dramatically once Grossmann joined the squad.

 

Here are my picks for Round 3, along with the rest of the Puck Daddy crew. DobberHockey’s picks will be up later today.

 

The KHL has announced, according to multiple sources, that all returning Russians from the NHL will not count against the salary cap. So give my best to Alex Semin please – take care buddy!

 

An NHL with a salary cap, cannot compete with the KHL when that league does not have a salary cap (for NHL players). This latest move will lure a LOT of NHLers. I’m not sure of the exact rules, but this could also impact the draft (Yakupov, Grigorenko) in terms of their draft spot slipping a little.

 

How much money are the Russian billionaires willing to lose to make this thing grow? The arenas are small, they have had terrible – avoidable – tragedy twice over the last few years… and yet they want to continue going toe to toe with the NHL, and give money to players hand over fist. How long can this sustain itself?

 

Just another reason why the NHL should go to a strict luxury tax instead of a hard cap.

 

Is Patrick Kane losing focus? Columns such as this one, giving an opinion on Kane after reports of his partying ‘antics’ leaked, are being more common. I don’t think any less of him as a player in terms of skills or upside. Not one iota. But, and this is just a personal “hunch”, if I own him I’m shopping him. The name carries a lot of weight in trade talks still. I would take advantage of that before it changes.

 

Morris… scores! From the red line!

 

 

Puck Daddy pointed me to this clip. Wow – did Alex Goligoski ever get rammed into the boards. He was okay… but so was Kris Letang that game when he got clipped, came back… but then later missed a lot of time. Talk about dangerous:

 

 

 


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Comments (10)add comment

SoCalRob said:

SoCalRob
... You did see the replay of the goal by Morris? The puck skipped off the ice, and it was a bad bounce. It happens to every goalie at some point. Fact is, in a tie game, in the 3rd period, Quick kept the puck out of his net and won the game, while Smith didn't. So I disagree with you on the Quick vs. Smith debate. WHEN it mattered, Quick outplayed Smith and won the game, and is now 6-0 on the ROAD in the playoffs. So judge that one bad goal on Quick all you want, but in the 3rd period when it mattered most, he was superior to Smith.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +0

RangerFan said:

RangerFan
... Ev, it hurts to lose to a boring team, doesn't it? LOL!!!!

In the meantime, we will continue to boringly beat everyone that stands in the way! Go Rangers!
May 14, 2012
Votes: -1

Jammer said:

Jammer
Jeff Carter Hey Dobber and Rollie1967--
I know what's up with Carter: it's called Coming Up SMALL In The Playoffs. Flyers fans like me LOVE the way Carter plays...in the regular season. Come playoff time, though, he becomes the invisible man. It's why we kept Briere (who is a playoff monster) and jettisoned Carts & his contract.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +1

pattywins said:

pattywins
... Let the Russians go and the NHL have more North American players. Are you really going to miss Semin, AK, Filatov, Radulov?

Nothing against the Russians, but if they want to play in Russia and can make more money, let them go and fill the roster with North American players. I still think the best players Kovalchuk, OV, Malkin and Datsyuk will come and stay. Most play junior here anyway.

Good defense and goaltending is boring compared to higher scoring games. But they only need a few changes. The full pp is a start. How about the expanded blue line? How many offsides have you seen this playoffs? Glove pass in all zones. I hate it when the puck is trying to be cleared and the d man makes a great athletic play by jumping in the air and knocking down the puck, only to have it go another player to be blown dead on a glove pass. Another one that drives me crazy is when they are 4 on 4 and someone takes a penalty and its not 4 on 3. Finally, they need to make the nets wider. Not much, just as much as the blue paint for the crease ... a couple inches ... If everyone is going to clog the middle and block shots, you need the players to be able to score coming down the wing. Wider nets would fix that.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +0

ynotzz said:

ynotzz
Patrick Thoresen He stated in interviews today that he will respect his contract with St. Petersburg which should keep him in KHL for one more year.

In the 10/11 season he played winger on a line with Radulov for Salavat Yulaev Ufa and the duo finished first and second in scoring that year. That was 80 points for Radulov and 66 for Thoresen in 54 games played. That put him ahead of a player like Cervenka who finished with 61.

Before the 11/12 season he signed a 2 year contract with St. Petersburg who have moved him to center. He used some time to adjust but ended up with 41 points in 45 matches. In total he has 203 points and +104 after 206 matches in the KHL, and is really motivated to play in the NHL again at some point. He should make a really good 2nd line center for the right club.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +1

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... and are you freaking kidding me donpaulo? The Blueshirts getting shafted by refs? That is the most hilarious statement I've read in a long while. The NHL is freaking located in New York and they earn the highest ratings out of all teams in the playoffs. Get real dude, the Refs are on their side when they can be.

Like how stupid does that sound that the NEW YORK RANGERS are getting shafted by the refs and the league? I guess that's why your team had to go 14 games against the bottom seeds in the East, eh?
May 14, 2012
Votes: +1

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... Good lord, this donpaulo guy has to come here every single time to defend the Rangers and shove them down our throats. Enough is enough.

We don't care about your boring team.
May 14, 2012
Votes: -1

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... Boyle did score a shortie and once again the NHL blew the call. As a die hard I have come to expect that the blueshirts will get shafted, although I am sure that all fans feel that way to some degree or another.

I think that NY's ability to clog the lane, block the shot and hustle on the backcheck got into the heads of some of the Caps who started looking to pass or to make the perfect play instead of what worked in previous games.

While Ovi and Semin did not impress .... Backstrom, Brouwer and especially Chimera and Hendricks were outstanding. Green also consistently made the right play, although was whistled a few times after becoming frustrated with NYs ability to dump and pound him into the glass with regularity.

Despite losing game 7, George McPhee has something very special in Washington and to a certain degree it isn't about the Russians. They do need a #2 centerman, ideally with size. Laich is a very nice player but probably a less than ideal 2 pivot. Johansson was not very noticeable, expect when making mistakes or turning the puck over.

Hockey fans do understand that NYR will be better next season right ?

and I maintain that Brad Richards has been and remains a clutch player, despite his contract and those who complain that he is "overpaid". Give me Brad Richards over Semin or Ovi every time.
May 14, 2012
Votes: -1

austeane said:

austeane
... I don't like the idea of having a rival to the NHL... It isn't like a business where rivals can create growth... I don't think that having a rival will make more kids play hockey and thus increase the talent...

The Catch-22 for the NHL is this: Go to luxary tax (or dramatically increase salary cap) and the Phoenix wonder story doesn't happen in 4 years. The gap between rich and poor will start to mirror the NBA and the amazing parity we have seen will cease to exist.

Keep the cap reasonable and the Russians will go to the KHL, losing some of the best players in the world. If the KHL becomes sustainable and it becomes the #1 choice for elite russian prospects, the NHL will have to do a whole lot to get them back and the amount of NHLers who move over will increase by a lot.

The only way out is for Bettman to hush-hush call this an act of war, have the cap go up so that teams can sign Russians to comparable contracts and then have the rich GM's heavily subsidize the lower end teams until the KHL loses steam or collapses.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +1

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
Jeff Carter Not sure whats wrong with him- but even if its a nagging injury that doesnt require surgery- hes looking at a short off season.

Id love a higher scoring game, not because a 2-1 game cant be entertaining- but because if it gets to 3-1, or 4-1 your chances of coming back now arent as good. Even with a 4 goal lead against a good team in the early 80's...you still had the possability of a comeback (assuming some time left). Hell if the Oilers were down by 2, it was like they had the attitude that it would only take 2 shifts to comeback, no big deal. Against my Canucks...they did it far too often, and it usually involved multiple camera shots of that a**hole Andersons smug face.
May 14, 2012
Votes: +1
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